Tuesday, April 03, 2012

James Patterson Explains Why His Books Sell Like Crazy

By Lauren A.E. Schuker - Wall Street Journal - March 30, 2012

Jessica Klewicki Glynn for the Wall Street Journal
James Patterson and wife Sue Patterson in their backyard in Palm Beach, Florida.
“Let’s shoot the breeze for a bit,” says James Patterson, exuding a relaxed attitude on a recent morning at his Palm Beach home despite the fact that he has 13 books coming out this year. He had 11 last year. To date, the 65-year-old author has published 95 books—his most recent, “Guilty Wives,” hit shelves this week—and according to Nielsen ranks as the country’s top-selling author.
Those numbers have added up to big business: Mr. Patterson earns more than $80 million a year, according to people familiar with his publishing empire.
More than a handful of those recent titles are aimed at young adults, as Mr. Patterson continues to expand his publishing empire beyond the thriller and detective genres. He’s also shopping projects to Hollywood and has a new movie inspired by his Alex Cross series that will hit theaters later this year.
Mr. Patterson works seven days a week out of a two-room office suite at his Palm Beach oceanfront home. White bookshelves line the first room, where he does the bulk of his writing, all in pencil on white legal pads. There’s no computer; just a telephone, fax machine, an iPad, and a bag of bubble gum. The second room looks like a traditional bedroom, but the bed is covered by books, loose-leaf papers, and manuscripts.
When it comes to writing, he has a well-practiced system: he writes a detailed outline and then hires someone—often a former colleague from his advertising days—to write the ensuing scenes, usually in 30 to 40 page chunks. He will review those pages every few weeks, sometimes providing notes on them and other times re-writing them entirely.
Read the full piece here.

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